New lighting is damaging Taj Mahal

Reports from India suggest that lighting of national monuments may not be as welcome as the tourist authorities would wish.

Along with the paying tourists, illumination of the Taj Mahal has brought with it a host of unwelcome visitors in the form of flying insects, intent on leaving their signatures on the marble facades of the building. The white marble is becoming stained with the greenish-black droppings of the insects, which is creating a huge cleaning problem for the curators. Current advice from the authorities is that the droppings should be washed off by hand, using distilled water. This is not considered to be a long-term answer to the problem.

Despite the classic night-time view of the Taj Mahal in full moonlight, when its architecture shimmers in all its decorative glory, its suggested that pressure from the tourist ministry led to the installation of the lighting. The installation flies in the face of earlier studies that concluded that night-time lighting would lead to just this problem.

Superintending Archaeologist for the Agra Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India, Bhuvan Vikram, says 'the Taj Mahal should definitely not be illuminated'.

 

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Pic: Diane Brennan

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